“The Living Wage Technical Group, which is made up of researchers and academics, says the cost of food, clothing, health insurance and social inclusion all reduced in 2017 but the savings were undone by rising rents,” the Journal reports this morning.
The aforementioned, ‘Living Wage Technical Group,’ comprises Robert Thornton, Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice (VPSJ), Dr Nat O’Connor, University of Ulster and Dr Micheál Collins, Nevin Economic Research Institute, As their website is down, (they always are, aren’t they?), it is not immediately possible to tell you much about these three lads except that they were tasked with setting the minimum living wage for Ireland.
Sniffing around elsewhere though I discovered that Robert Thornton BA, MSc. is the research part of the triumvirate, Dr Nat O’Connor is a Lecturer in Public Policy & Public Management and the last lad, Dr Micheál Collins is a Senior Economist. On paper then you have a researcher who can gather all the relevant facts, an economist that can analyze them, and another bloke who knows how to put together public policy and make it happen. Between them they have decided that a single person in Ireland can live on earnings of €11.70 an hour.
As most of the jobs are in Dublin and, “Dublin, city centre rents now stand at €1,655, while the north of the city stands at €1,529 and the south city at €1,763,” the recommended living wage from this group of €1,872 a month barely covers the price of a dingy flat.The minimum wager would have €109 left each month to feed and clothe themselves, pay electricity, transport to and from work and pay bin charges etc. It’s ridiculous! Mind you, the person on a social welfare back-to-work scheme gets even less at €198-a-week.
But it makes you wonder about the three amigos, doesn’t it? Neither a researcher, an economist nor a lecturer would get out of bed for €468.00 as a daily rate but they highly recommend that others could and must do so for a week’s work. Their completed presentation explains that, “The Living Wage is based on the concept that work should provide an adequate income to enable individuals to afford a socially acceptable minimum standard of living.” They also add that they used figures from, “The Minimum Essential Standard of Living research in Ireland, conducted by the VPSJ,” to arrive at their €11.70 figure.
So I dug that report out too and here are some of the highlights of their core data. For a, “Two-Parent, Two-Child (aged 3 and 6 years) Household Type,” it only costs €121.20 to feed all four every week or so say the VPSJ. I suppose that depends on what is being eaten and how much of it you and the kids consume. To clothe all four of you, these lads think €23.26 would cover it, (if you’ll excuse the pun). Under ‘Personal Care,’ they suggest a budget of €17.90 and I can only presume that’s for soap, shampoo, toilet paper and creams etc. So far then we have four hungry, smelly people in rags .
The VPSJ report claims that Mom, Dad and two young kids can, with an ‘adequate’ income of €472.30 a week, afford a socially acceptable minimum standard of living. So I went hunting for the big line item, the cost of putting a roof over their heads according to the VPSJ. Guess what? They reckon you can get housing for four in Dublin for €177.04 a month!!!!! The market says even an average flat will cost you €1,655 a month but the VPSJ reckon if you shop around, (I suppose), then you’ll get it for as little as €177 a month.
The learned gentlemen behind all of this were paid by the State, (i.e.; You), to produce this work of fiction. Worse again, the 158 people you pay handsomely to sit around in the Dail will be only to happy to believe it too. I can already hear our new inclusive caring Taoiseach defending €11.70 an hour on the basis of what he’ll call, “An independent and thorough report.” Mind you, based on a forty-hour week, we pay Leo €90.00 an hour, (or €185,350 a year) plus all the perks, claims, expenses and entitlements he can think of. It’s a pretty brain-dead Taoiseach who can’t knock out a million a year these days.
The Journal ran a poll on this today and five and a half thousand people voted on this issue. Sixty-one per cent know it is not a living wage but nearly thirty per cent say it’s fine and dandy. This probably tells you that two-thirds of us are humane realistic people but the other one-third are nasty, spiteful individuals who desire to see others in distress and pain. For my own part I can only say that you cannot have a socially acceptable minimum standard of living with €11.70 an hour in this country. And remember too that people being offered such an hourly rate are also being offered only temporary contracts with no guarantee of even one hour of earnings in any given month. They may be asked to be on standby forty hours a week but they only get money for the hours they are called in.
So it is definitely not a living of any kind.